Her son was crying and Naimah Talib was running out of options.
The international student had already tried expressing milk under a veil in a prayer room at the Australian National University. But today she was a long walk from one of only eight parenting rooms spread across the sprawling 145-acre campus and her little son was hungry.
She ended up breastfeeding in a toilet stall.
"That wasn't good, it's not hygienic," she said. "There's nowhere to go that's close. Sometimes, I'd miss classes."
A new survey by the ANU's post-graduate and research student association, PARSA, paints a bleak picture of life on campus for students juggling study and parenting.
Out of 81 postgraduate respondents, 73 per cent rated university support for parents as very poor to average. While some shared stories of supportive lecturers allowing children in tutorials, many said they were routinely forced to miss class altogether, had been priced out of childcare on campus and could not find family-friendly student accommodation.
Now that her son is older, Ms Talib can leave him with her partner during the day. But some of her classmates weren't so lucky, she said, staying home or else dropping out entirely to care for their young children.
"My friend just gave birth and she never comes to school," Ms Talib said.
PARSA president and postgraduate student Alyssa Shaw said she'd heard of both students and academics walking for half an hour to find a place to express milk.
Some international students surveyed described making the harrowing decision to leave their children behind to study in Canberra on a scholarship, without funding for reunion visits.
One student said he spent thousands on a return ticket home to see his son after the little boy "asked my partner to give birth to another father because he wants to see me".
"Some of the stories we've heard are really shocking," Ms Shaw said. "Parents are really struggling, it's heart-breaking."
The ANU recently expanded the number of parenting rooms on campus to eight, but an audit by the association found three such spaces were multi-purpose first-aid or prayer rooms and did not have all the appropriate facilities.
Most students surveyed hadn't used ANU parenting facilities at all and only 16 per cent made use of on-campus childcare.
Pro vice-chancellor of university experience Professor Richard Baker said the ANU would consider the survey's recommendations in determining "what other improvements can be implemented".
"We know it can be tough for students who are also parents, and the university strives to be as family friendly as possible," Professor Baker said.
"The university will also develop a full breastfeeding policy across campus and ensure that building facilities consider including parenting facilities."
In December, the ANU applied for a breastfeeding-friendly accreditation from the Australian Breastfeeding Association, after its previous accreditation lapsed in 2010.
A spokeswoman confirmed on Friday the university was still in talks with the association, which did not respond to requests for comment.
Professor Baker said the ANU was also looking at more accommodation options for postgraduate students, including those with children.
For Lauren Reed, that news can't come soon enough. The mother of three has just been told she only has a few months to find a new place to live.
"There's nothing on campus for us, it look me months to find a place to begin with when I moved up from Melbourne," Ms Reed said.
"I already put off going back to uni [for about five years] until my children were school-age because I knew otherwise it would just be impossible."
When he moved to the capital from Bangladesh with his young family, research student Haribondhu Sarma also struggled to find a place to live, applying for more than fifty different apartments in just a few weeks.
It would be three months before he finally found a place, leaving his children to "sit idle" in temporary accommodation missing out on school.
While Mr Sarma said his supervisor was flexible about family commitments, he still wanted more support from the university itself.
"I'm international, the Australian government is not my authority, the university, they are my authority, they should do something," he said.
In March, the ANU expanded its parental leave program for staff, offering up to 26 weeks for new parents. Research students are only entitled to five working days of paternity leave.
Professor Baker said the university had recently opened a fourth childcare centre on campus, but acknowledged the "cost of childcare an also be expensive for many students".
While the survey found international students struggled with parenting the most, they also felt more looked after, with only 20 per cent rating support as poor or very poor compared to almost half of domestic students.
Ms Shaw said postgraduate students made up more than half of the university's cohort but continued to miss out on necessary support services.
"People think the typical student is this fresh-faced undergrad. That's not what we look like."
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